Tarapoto is a commercial hub town in the San Martín Province of the San Martín Region or northern Peru. It is an hour by plane from Lima, in the high jungle plateau to the east of what is known as the selva baja (low jungle). Although Moyobamba is the capital of the region, Tarapoto is the region's largest city and is linked to the Upper Amazon and the historic city of Yurimaguas by a relatively well-maintained transandean highway, paved in 2008-9. Tarapoto is approximately 356 metres (1,168 ft) above sea level on the high jungle plateau, also called the cloud forest. It was founded in 1782 by Baltazar Martínez Jiménez de Compagnon. According to the 2007 census Tarapoto has a population of 63,484 within the city limits, and over 117,184 inhabitants including the outlying Morales and Banda de Shilcayo districts. Tarapoto is often used by tourists and local visitors as a base for excursions into the vast Amazon Rainforest. The region's main activities are tourism, commerce, agriculture, and an illicit "shadow economy" that includes production of coca leaves, extraction of lumber, and trading in land concessions. Tarapoto is home to the Universidad Nacional de San Martín, an important center of higher education serving the professional and technical needs of a region of high biodiversity. With its active nightlife, Tarapoto offers a wide variety of hotels and restaurants in and around the city. Moreover, the area's beautiful landscapes, waterfalls and lagoons form a tempting location for adventure tourism, such as river rafting and hiking in the tropical Andes, and attract numerous visitors to the "City of Palms".
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